By: Steve Gunn
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A long decline in the percentage of American teens who are sexually active has leveled off, and an increasing number of teen girls are using the morning after birth control pill on a regular basis, according to the findings of a recently published study.
None of that surprises Valerie Huber, president and CEO of the National Abstinence Education Association.
She says sex education in public schools in recent years has been focused on the assumption that all or most kids are sexually active, which puts pressure on more teens to meet that expectation.
That drowns out the main message students should be hearing – that the best way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease is to put sex on hold during the middle school and high school years, Huber said.
“The recent stall in declines is precisely correlated to the Obama administration’s change in the kind of sex education being given to America’s youth,” Huber wrote to EAGnews in an email.
“A real emphasis should be renewed on sexual delay because it removes all the possible consequences of teen sex, including those that are not the ones people usually think of – pregnancy and STDs. Teens could greatly benefit from messages reinforcing the healthiest choice of waiting for sex.”
Huber was reacting to a new survey on teen sex from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey is based on interviews with about 2,000 teens between the ages of 15 and 19, conducted between 2011 and 2013.
The survey revealed that 1 in 5 sexually active teen girls have used the morning-after pill, which was a huge increase from 10 years ago, when the statistic was 1 on 12, according to a news report from the Associated Press.
The most obvious reason for the increase is that the morning-after pill is now obtainable for girls and women of all ages, without a prescription.
Huber cited a lot of facts about the morning-after pill, and she wonders if the many teens who use it are aware of the potential pratfalls.
“Do teens think they are ‘safe’ as long as they use the morning after pill?” Huber wrote. “Do they know that Plan B offers NO protection against the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases among young adults?
“Do they think that if they use emergency contraceptions, they are protected from pregnancy? A March, 2015 Princeton meta-analysis showed EC has effectiveness ranging from 62-85 percent, which is far from 100 percent.
“Do they know that if they have a high body mass index, EC may have a decreased or no effect on preventing pregnancy?
“Do they know that the CDC and EC providers warn that Plan B is not intended for use as a routine form of birth control and should not be used in this manner?”
The CDC report also showed that there is no statistical change in the percentage of teens who are sexually active, compared to a decade ago, the news report said. About 45 percent of boys and girls who participated in the study reported being sexually active.
The percentage of teens who were sexually active dropped steadily between the late 1980s and early 2000, but that trend appears to have ended.
Today’s “comprehensive” sex education is responsible for the new wave of sexual activity, according to Huber.
“Is it any surprise that when the predominant message is ‘have sex but use contraception’ that we are beginning to see sexual delay is stalled and even slightly decreasing and multiple partners in teens are increasing?” she wrote.
“Rather than normalizing teen sex, our sex education should promote information and skills that promote optimal sexual health. That means normalizing teen sexual delay.”